December 26, 2017


Agonizing death of raccoon caught in trap sparks calls for empathy

Animal chewed off own paw after it was caught in a legal trap set in Burnaby neighbourhood

Jason Proctor · CBC News · Posted: Apr 18, 2018 1:16 PM PT | Last Updated: April 18


This raccoon was brought into a shelter with its paw caught in a trap. The trap was removed, but the animal chewed its paw off. It was later euthanized. (Critter Care Wildlife Society)

Animal activists say the gory demise of a raccoon that chewed its own paw off after getting caught in a trap last week should be a lesson to would-be backyard vigilantes.

“Anybody using these type of traps, they’re wanting to inflict pain. I don’t know what type of people we have out there,” said Gail Martin, founder of the Langley-based Critter Care Wildlife Society.

“And when I say I am sick of what goes on out there, I am sick of it! People have got to learn to have empathy for other living beings.”

No release for 3-pawed raccoon

The raccoon was brought into Martin’s shelter last Thursday after getting its paw caught in a cuff-style legal trap put out in a mixed residential and industrial use area in Burnaby.

Martin said staff were able to remove the trap, but the animal’s foot was crushed. She said it still would have felt sensation in the paw, despite pain medication and chewed it off overnight.

The raccoon was then euthanized.

“He can’t be released with three paws,” she said. “He has to be able to survive out there.”


The raccoon at rest in the moments after the removal of the trap that crushed its paw. The animal was later euthanized. (Critter Care Wildlife Society)

Martin called for stronger laws and prosecution of people who maim wildlife through the indiscriminate setting of traps.

“People can get hurt. Cats, dogs, children,” she said. “Nobody should be allowed to use these type of traps.”

Raccoons are a frequent irritant on the Lower Mainland, where they regularly roam streets and backyards with their families in search of food.

Solving underlying issues

According to the province, they’re not considered aggressive but can be dangerous if threatened. Dogs are not considered an effective way of getting rid of them.

The province advises homeowners to keep garbage in plastic bags in buildings or sheds, to secure garbage can lids with rubbers straps or hooks and to clean garbage cans with ammonia or bleach.

It’s illegal to poison raccoons, which can be trapped (in season) by registered trappers who have a valid licence. A mother and her babies can’t be removed from a nesting site until the pups are able to leave

Adrian Nelson, with the Association for the Protection of Fur Bearing Animals, says the trap in question is legal. But he questions the morality of anything that would leave an animal in such pain.

“Our biggest recommendation is to bring in a wildlife control company that knows what they’re doing, that uses non-lethal measures,” he said.

“When it comes to trapping animals … we’re not really solving the underlying issue of why that animal is there. So, until we address the attractants or the habitat or whatever is drawing that animal in, we’re just going to continue to have problems.”

Mum appalled after finding ‘barbaric trap’ left on pavement on residential street

A bird was inside the trap – but it could have been a child

A mother who stumbled upon a ‘barbaric’ rat trap lying in the middle of the pavement with an injured bird stuck in it fears a child could have been hurt by the contraption.

Lisa Wright, from Great Hale, near Sleaford, made the gruesome discovery while walking her dog near the Orchard Close area of the village.

The 35-year-old is concerned it was deliberately left there to hurt a larger animal such as a cat or puppy – but it could have also injured a child if they had found it.

Mrs Wright said: “[My husband] opened the trap and the bird got out – it’s wing had come off and its leg.

The trap found on the pavement in Great Hale
The trap found on the pavement in Great Hale

“The street is full of kids, cats and dogs.

“My puppy is only 14 weeks old and the trap would have snapped his neck.”

The hairdresser said she was shocked to see the six-inch long trap lying in the pavement.

She believes the sparrow had only been in the trap a few minutes when she found it.

She said: “I think it would have killed the bird, but it went under the hedge.

“There was fresh blood on the trap too. I would have saved it if I could.

“The trap was big enough to kill my puppy and it could have injured a child.”

The inside of the trap found in Great Hale
The inside of the trap found in Great Hale

She said her husband was also incredibly upset by the incident.

She added: “It’s heartbreaking seeing it.

“I think it is being used for domestic pets rather than its intended purpose of rats.

“If it is being used for what I think then it does worry me.

“I am shocked about it, as we are all animal lovers down here, lots of people have pets. It’s barbaric seeing this.”

The government advises that traps like this, which are used for pest control, are legal but must be placed under cover.

The size of the trap
The size of the trap

On its website under pest control it states: “You must protect other animals from traps or poison you put down for pests by – placing lethal traps under cover or so that other animals and birds aren’t caught and preventing wildlife from eating poison you’ve put down.”

It also adds that people should get expert advice if they are unsure what to use.

Leghold trap catches domestic cat in Great Falls

Leghold trap catches domestic cat in Great Falls

City shelter trying to keep feline comfortable


It’s touch and go for a fluffly male cat rescued Friday on a Great Falls street with its front paw in the jaws of a steel leghold trap.

Gisela Hvamstad and her 14-year-old daughter, Danaya, were leaving home near the intersection of 24th Street North and 9th Avenue North at 7 p.m. Friday when they saw a cat in the middle of 24th Street.

“I’m trying to call the cat,” Hvamstad said. “It’s just staring at me.”

She initially thought that the cat had a snake. “I thought ‘ew,’ Hvamstad.

But Danaya jumped out of the car, phone in hand, to investigate.

“Her face just went like to sheer terror,” Hvamstad said.

A large trap was attached to the cat’s leg.

What initially appeared to be a snake was actually a chain attached to the trap, and the cat, described by Hvamstad as a “strong fighter,” had broken the chain away from whatever it had been attached to.

They ran into the house and grabbed some towels and tried to corner the cat, which was walking away with the large trap on its paw and attempting to crawl under a car.

“It was hissing,” Hvamstad said. “It was scared.”

Danaya threw a towel over the gray, fluffy male and scooped it up.

Hvamstad credits here “nosy” daughter for investigating the situation and then rescuing the injured cat.

Then they called animal control with the Great Falls Police Department.

More: Coyote killing contest matter of perspective

On Monday morning, the cat was at the Great Falls Animal Shelter.

Director Lynn Formell said she doesn’t know whether the cat, nicknamed “Bear,” will survive.

“We’re just trying to keep the cat comfortable at this time,” Formell said.

Trap Free Montana Public Lands, a not-for-profit that promotes trapping reform and trap-free public lands that learned about the trapped cat, has offered to pay the veterinarian bills.

“The cat’s leg is so badly mangled, I can’t believe it won’t be amputated,” said KC York, executive director of Trap Free Montana Public Lands.

The cat will surely need extensive medical attention, York said.

More: Indomitable Great Falls mama cat takes in orphaned kittens

In York’s experience, if there’s one trap set, there’s probably more.

“I hope it’s being investigated,” York said. “I hope somebody’s out there looking to see if there’s more (traps). And I hope this person’s caught.”

City ordinance prohibits use of leghold traps, York said.

A Facebook posting by Hvamstad on the cat that was shared by Trap Free Montana Public Lands reached 20,000 people in 24 hours, York said.

“It’s gone pretty crazy,” York said.

Hvamstad checked with the shelter Saturday and was informed that nobody had claimed the cat, which is not fitted with a microchip identifying the owners.

“He’s in a critical time,” she said.

Furious mountain lion tries to MAUL hunter after being caught in trap

TERRIFYING footage shows the moment a mountain lion tried to maul a hunter after it became caught in his trap.

The video shows the deadly beast hissing wildly at the man as he approaches.

Its front paw is stuck inside the hunter’s cage and it begins writhing around in a desperate attempt to escape.

The fearless bloke tries to restrain the big cat with a noose, but it immediately attempts an attack.

Despite the clear danger of getting too close to the predator’s teeth, the man continues his efforts.

The mountain lion attackingNEWSFLARE

TERRIFYING: A mountain lion tried to maul a hunter in a heart-stopping video

Shocking moment hunter KICKS wolf before it runs for its life

Play Video

He eventually manages to lift the noose over the mountain lion’s head and pins it to the floor.

It continues to claw wildly but the hunter keeps his cool and is able to release the trap.

The clip – filmed in Helper, Utah, US – ends with the cat running off into the wilderness.

The man later explained how he was setting traps for bobcats and coyotes and the mountain lion’s capture was a complete accident.

It’s not the first time some of nature’s most dangerous animals have tried to attack their human counterparts after being caught.

A wolf appeared to come back from the dead to attack a hunter after it was kicked in a heart-stopping video.

Local man killed in hunting accident

By Kaitlyn Rigdon El Dorado.

On Sunday, El Dorado police responded to an area by Forest Lane and Mount Holly Road regarding an accidental shooting involving three people. Officers were escorted down a trail in the wooded area to find Thomas Browning, 48, lying on the ground.

Emergency medical services were called and Browning was pronounced dead at the scene.

Browning and two other people, including his son, were reportedly hog hunting in the area. All evidence shows it to be an accident. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission was notified because it was a hunting accident, said Police Chief Billy White.

“It’s not against the law to hunt in city limits, though we do discourage it,” White said.

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission 2017-2018 Hunting Guidebook, “it is not legal to point, aim or shoot a firearm or archery equipment across, from or within 100 ft. of the centerline of any city, county, state or federally maintained road.”

Also according to the guidebook, feral hogs are not considered wildlife or a game species, but rather a public nuisance.

On private land, feral hogs may be killed or trapped year-round with any method, by a landowner or anyone with the landowner’s permission. On public land, feral hogs may be killed by hunters who are hunting bear, deer or elk during a firearm season with weapons legal for those seasons.

“It is unlawful for persons to fail to immediately report a hunting or trapping related incident involving personal injury above basic first-aid treatment to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission so an investigation may be conducted,” the guidebook states.

If an incident does occur, it should be reported as soon as possible. To report hunting related incidents, call 800-482-9262.

Teen’s dog killed in illegal beaver trap near trailhead

    Thursday, February 22, 2018 .

    It all happened so fast that there was nothing Ali Hirt could do to save her dog Stoic earlier this month when he was fatally caught in an illegal beaver trap in Kane Creek.

    But the Grand County High School student is determined to help prevent similar tragedies from occurring by raising awareness about the potential threats of wildlife traps in popular recreation areas near dog-loving Moab.

    “I’d just like Moab to have to think about it – that there is this danger out there – and I would like trappers to consider the risk they’re putting everyone at when they’re setting these traps,” she said.

    Hirt, whose grandfather is a trapper, sees no reason why trappers should be placing the devices so close to the city limits.

    “I feel like there should be something done about restrictions as to where (someone) can set a trap, especially near such populated areas,” she said.

    Hirt adopted her 2-year-old Australian shepherd/pit bull mix and his brother Neko from La Sal when they were old enough to be taken away from their mother. She remembers Stoic in particular as a super-happy, “really loyal” and goofy canine companion.

    “He was very special to me,” she said. “He was my best friend.”

    Since she first took them in, Hirt and her dogs had gone just about everywhere around Moab, but she singled out the Kane Springs area as her favorite place to hike.

    With two of her friends in tow, they set off for the area on Saturday, Feb. 10, parking her van near the mouth of Hunter Canyon.

    They had been hiking for perhaps less than a minute when Stoic – who loved the water – went straight toward Kane Creek. Almost immediately, he began to struggle; Hirt’s first thought was that he was somehow entangled in a coat hanger.

    When it became clear that he was stuck in a trap, she and a friend jumped in after him and tried to pull it off, but it was too late: Within a minute, Stoic was dead.

    Hirt and her friends were in shock; she couldn’t imagine that they would encounter a trap in a place that she visits so often.

    “I never thought I’d ever have to worry about something like this, especially in Moab,” Hirt said. “It’s something you shouldn’t have to worry about.”

    A couple heard them screaming, and a man carried Stoic back to her vehicle.

    With no cell phone service in the canyon, Hirt and her friends had to drive all the way to Matheson Wetlands before she was able to report the incident; she eventually took a Utah Department of Natural Resources officer back to the scene.

    State wildlife officials subsequently set up surveillance cameras in the area and identified the trapper; they also found three additional traps nearby, according to Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) Lt. Ben Wolford.

    The trapper, who has not been publicly identified, has a license to trap fur-bearing animals. But the trap that killed Stoic was not legally registered, according to Wolford.

    “This particular trap did not have a register number on it, and that’s where the violations came in,” he said.

    As of Tuesday, Feb. 20, Wolford could only say that the DWR is pursuing a charge of “failure to tag.”

    “But we’re still looking at other things,” he said.

    Wolford said the suspect will likely be charged with class B misdemeanor offenses – although no charges had been filed in Grand County Justice Court as of Wednesday, Feb. 21.

    “I don’t think there are formal charges yet, but there could be (this week),” he said.

    No laws against trapping in season

    While there are no state laws against beaver trapping in most areas during the fur-bearer season, the division strongly recommends that trappers avoid setting traps near trails that hikers and dog walkers use frequently.

    “It’s not illegal, but we do encourage trappers to stay away from areas that are frequented by trail users and others who are out to enjoy natural areas,” Wolford said.

    The current trapping season for beavers in Utah began on Sept. 23, 2017, and it’s scheduled to end on April 4.

    Usually, Wolford said, trappers try to stay away from more populated areas because beavers are less common there. But during the season, hikers, dog walkers and others may encounter traps around ledges, rocks and some waterways, he said.

    “It is trapping season, so there is a higher risk of them running into traps out there,” Wolford said. “We want people to be aware that this is a possibility.”

    Although it’s legal today, beaver trapping is somewhat anachronistic in the 21st Century.

    “It’s not like it was in the olden times when it was sustenance for food and trading and stuff like that,” Wolford said.

    Tens of millions of beaver once occupied streams and other riparian areas across the West, but trappers decimated their numbers in the 19th Century. The species’ population across North America has since rebounded to an estimated 10 to 15 million individuals.

    Today, not many people in Utah trap beaver, unless particular “nuisance” animals are damaging canals or other agricultural infrastructure. In this instance, Wolford said, there were no reports of nuisance animals along Kane Creek or Hunter Canyon.

    “Down in that area, there wasn’t any issue like that,” he said.

    Wolford said the suspect used a “kill trap” that was designed to suffocate animals.

    “They’re a very powerful trap,” Wolford said. “You usually need a special tool to open them up.”

    While there are other ways to open such traps, Wolford said it’s much harder for someone who is not familiar with them to remove the devices. The likelihood that anyone could rescue an animal in time to save his or her life is remote, he said.

    Hirt said the springs on the trap were so strong that the device had to be sawed off Stoic’s neck, and it disturbs her to imagine what could have happened under another scenario.

    “It could have been a kid; it could have been one of my friends, and there would have been nothing that we could have done (to help),” she said.

    Leashes not required at most BLM sites

    U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Public Affairs Specialist Lisa Bryant said her agency requires visitors with pets to leash their animals at established campgrounds and designated recreation sites. But leashes are optional in other areas that the agency administers, she said.

    In places where leashes are required, Bryant said, the BLM does post signs at trailheads and campgrounds. But Bryant said it would be impractical to install signs at other locations, so the BLM works instead to raise public awareness about the potential threat of wildlife traps, and encourages people to leash their dogs.

    “We usually approach it more through a general education campaign,” she said.

    Unfortunately, she said, BLM officials have no way of knowing where wildlife traps are, either.

    “So we don’t have any ways to manage that,” Bryant said.

    But the agency is always open to suggestions about ways it could reduce the odds that something similar will happen again, she said, extending the agency’s condolences to Hirt and her family.

    “It’s horribly, horribly unfortunate, and our hearts do go out to the pet owners,” she said. “For many people, pets are family members.”

    Wildlife advocate’s dog snared by trap

    Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

    A New Mexico woman and wildlife advocate who works to ban trapping recently encountered a steel foothold trap up close and personal while walking in the Cibola National Forest.

    Mary Katherine Ray of Winston said she was walking her two leashed dogs on Tuesday, along a game trail they frequently use in the San Mateo Mountains, when her shepherd mix, Greta, began to scream in pain.

    “Until you’ve heard it, it is unimaginable,” said Ray, who works with the Rio Grande chapter of the Sierra Club.

    She quickly realized Greta’s left front paw was caught in a trap.

    Ray is the wildlife chairwoman for the club and routinely teaches people how to release traps should their pets be caught, so she knew what to do.

    She threw her jacket over Greta to protect herself but still received a few bites from the panicked dog.

    After pushing down – hard – on the release levers on both sides of the trap, Greta was free.

    The foot-hold trap that snared Mary Katherine Ray’s dog.

    Ray said Greta limped for a few hours and has since recovered, but the incident has left her shaken.

    “I can’t imagine people who are just out hiking, not knowing what I do about traps,” she said.

    She said a game warden she informed about the incident inspected the trap and told her there was nothing illegal about it.

    Trapping of foxes, badgers, weasels, ringtails and bobcats is legal on public lands from Nov. 1 to March 15.

    The trap was placed in the middle of the game trail, but that’s legal, because it’s not an official walking trail on any map.

    It was also farther than the required 25 yards from any public road.

    “Until March 15, I’m going to be staying inside,” Ray said.

    Ray said she also carries a pair of cable cutters in case one of her dogs is caught in a snare, another legal means of catching fur-bearers.

    Mary Katherine Ray was walking in Cibola National Forest when one of her dogs stepped on a foot-hold trap. (Courtesy of Mary Katherine Ray)

    Last month, a man found himself in hot water after releasing a trapped fox near Placitas and nursing it back to health.

    A bill to make trapping and poisoning animals on public lands illegal was introduced in the state’s 2017 legislative session, but it died in committee.

    According to the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, nearly 5,000 protected fur-bearers, including beavers, foxes, badgers and raccoons, were harvested during the 2016-2017 season.

    Trappers are permitted through Game and Fish, which did not respond to requests for comment.

    Feds investigating shooting of a possible gray wolf in Marshall County

    4A 3 col color WOLF.jpeg
    Britton-area man Mike Werner shot and killed this animal that may be a gray wolf. Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the case, according to a state conservation officer. (Courtesy photo)

    A Britton-area man is caught up in a federal investigation after shooting an animal that may be a gray wolf.

    Mike Werner said he was hunting coyotes by a slough near Clear Lake in Marshall County on Jan. 13 when he shot and killed what he thought was a bigger, dark coyote that came up behind him about 100 yards away.

    Immediately after shooting the animal, Werner said he realized it was much larger than a coyote and resembled a wolf.

    Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the case.

    Casey Dowler, a conservation officer with the state Game, Fish and Parks Department in Marshall County, said the animal is being tested at a federal lab.

    Dowler would not give anymore information on the case since there is an active federal investigation into the shooting of the animal.

    GFP Conservation Officer Supervisor Mike Klosowski said harvesting, trapping or recreational hunting of wolves is illegal.

    Klosowski said any case involving gray wolves falls under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He said GFP has no wolf management authority at this time.

    “So when we have an incident where a gray wolf is killed by a member of the public, we’d likely respond to the call, do a preliminary investigation then pass it off to Fish and Wildlife Service,” Klosowski said. “Then they would do any kind of prosecution on their end, or not prosecute on their end.”

    Klosowski said gray wolf sightings are uncommon in northeastern South Dakota, but transient wolves do come through the state from time to time.

    “To the east we have Minnesota. Northern Minnesota has a healthy population of gray wolves,” he said. “Then when you go out west near Yellowstone National Park, you have a very healthy population of wolves out there too.”

    He explained that wolves are known to venture away from their pack to start their own pack in a new territory.

     Although gray wolves have not established populations in South Dakota, the species is still illegal to kill in the state.

    Klosowski said if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were to prosecute someone for killing a gray wolf the case would go to court.

    Knowing that wolves are protected under the Endangered Species Act and in South Dakota, Werner said he left the animal where it was shot and called the local game warden.

    Werner said the animal had an old trapping injury on its foot, where it was missing a couple toes and part of its foot pad.

    On another foot, the animal had a trapping device. Werner believes the animal was trapped and was able to break free of the chains that kept him immobilized.

    Werner said if the lab testing results show the animal to be a dog-coyote hybrid, he will be able to take the animal home.

    Officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were unable to comment on the ongoing investigation.

    Pet dog strangled in bobcat snare during family outing in SV

    Sage with Stewart’s grandkids.

    STAR VALLEY, WYO – It was last weekend. Christy Stewart was with family walking her dog up Wickiup Knoll Trail outside of Afton same as she’d done almost every day for the past four years. Her dog, a 3-year-old Pyrenees named “Sage,” practically grew up on that run.

    On Sunday, Sage died on that trail.


    Out of sight for just minutes, the dog caught a scent of fresh meat used to bait a bobcat snare. It didn’t take long. Sage suffocated, hung in a trap just 20 feet off the trail.

    Afton Game Warden James Hobbs investigated the incident and reported the trap, baited using a cubby set, was legal. It was not signed in any way that Stewart noticed, and that was her main complaint.

    “To me, it’s common sense of not setting a snare so close to a popular recreation sight that would have avoided this nightmare. We all have our rights but there has to be a better way of avoiding senseless injury or death. Warning signs of “TRAPPING IN AREA” would be a good start,” Stewart said.

    Stewart added that she wasn’t against trapping, per se, and is not interested in seeing laws changed in that regard. She just wants a heads up on any ongoing trapping so she or any other dog owner could be made aware.

    “Nobody deserves a heartache like I have,” she said.

    Trappers sometimes do not like to sign their traps for fear of vandalism from members of the public unsympathetic to the practice. Others don’t like to advertise where their traps are set to other trappers or opportunistic fur-gatherers.

    Typical cubby set bobcat snare (

    Lisa Robertson formed the advocacy group Wyoming Untrapped in 2012. WU is dedicated to creating a safe and humane environment for people, pets and wildlife through education, trapping regulation reform and compassionate conservation. The organization keeps the only statewide database of pet/trap conflicts.

    WU has documented an escalation in incidents since fur prices began rising a few years ago. Recently, WU reported several trapping alerts in the last two months, including another snare trapping in Star Valley up Strawberry Canyon where a dog almost suffocated. Reports of traps near popular trails have also been reported in Shell and Ten Sleep.

    “Traps are indiscriminate and deadly, causing pain and suffering to those who lose a beloved friend and family member,” Robertson posted on WU’s Facebook site.

    With legal traps set so close to popular trails and little to no signage, and considering many dogs are allowed off-leash on the trails, Robertson said, “Basically, there are no safe areas for the public.”